Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.
Abnormally dry conditions prompt wildfire warnings in western states
The National Drought Mitigation Center in Nebraska predicts that dry conditions in Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada and Utah will persist at least until through June, raising concerns about an early wildfire season and prompting advisories about open burning.
Great Falls Tribune (AP); April 13
Fire season prospects in the West
The Associated Press has compiled a state-by-state forecast for wildfire season in the Western states, with normal fire activity predicted in Idaho and Montana; higher than normal activity predicted in Wyoming; and significant potential in the forecast for Colorado.
Idaho Statesman (AP); April 13
USFS begins replanting trees on area burned by 2002 Hayman wildfire
U.S. Forest Service officials acknowledged that they cannot replant every acre of forest burned by wildfire, but the agency has hired a Florida contractor to replant some of the 138,000 acres burned by the Hayman fire in Colorado in 2002.
Denver Post; April 13
Alberta firm's 'waterless fracturing' drilling method catches on
Concerns about the volume of water used in the drilling method known as hydraulic fracturing, as well as the disposal of the contaminated used water, are quelled by GasFrac Energy Services' "waterless fracturing" method that uses propane gel instead of water, and the company's patented process is now being used in Alberta, Texas, New York and Pennsylvania.
Edmonton Journal; April 13
Deputy interior secretary: Earthquakes not linked to hydraulic fracturing
The release of a U.S. Geological Survey report that tied the practice of reinjecting wastewater from oil and gas operations deep underground to an increase in seismic activity prompted David Hayes, deputy secretary of Interior, to blog that those findings ""do not suggest that hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as 'fracking,' causes the increased rate of earthquakes."
Christian Science Monitor; April 13
After open season, KinderMorgan wants even bigger Alberta-B.C. pipeline
Texas-based KinderMorgan wanted to expand its Alberta-to-Metro Vancouver pipeline and conducted an "open season," seeking commitments for the product shipped through the pipeline, but the response from Asian customers was so overwhelming the company now wants to expand the pipeline even more.
Vancouver Sun; April 13
Canada vows to speed up environmental reviews of projects
Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced his budget on Thursday and included an announcement that environmental reviews for such projects as the Northern Gateway pipeline would take no more than 24 months, and that the federal government would closely monitor the work of charitable foundations to ensure that they did not accept foreign donations to oppose oilsands production and other issues.
Toronto Globe and Mail; April 13
Montana FWP's plan to raise mountain lion quotas riles houndsmen
Hunters and houndsmen were at loggerheads Thursday over Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks' plan to raise hunting quotas on mountain lions in some areas in the 2012-13 hunting season.
Helena Independent Record; April 13
Mountain West News is a project of the Center for the Rocky Mountain West at The University of Montana. It provides a daily snapshot of news and opinion in the Rocky Mountain region of North America, giving the changing mountain West a tool to understand itself and a platform for the exchange of ideas.